Do You Drive?


Parking in the school parking lot, Sammie Mills (12) shows off skills learned through taking Driver’s Education and Driver’s Simulation

A person can start learning to drive at 16 years old, and, through Driver’s Education and Driver’s Simulation, which are offered at James Buchanan High School, students are learning to drive properly to be in control on the road.


Driver’s Education is a mandatory half-credit course offered to students in their sophomore year. The course goes through 10 modules that consist of a lesson and quiz. Throughout the 10 different modules, there are many topics covered, including emotional driving, driving under the influence, all the way to what is under the hood of a car and liability insurance.


After the modules are completed, students must take a final driving assessment to determine whether they will pass the course or not. If the student receives under a 75% on the final assessment, they have failed and must keep trying to complete the course in order to graduate. Unfortunately for students that fail, they must pay a fine of $50 every semester they take Driver’s Education.


At James Buchanan, Mr. Michael Mele (Faculty) is in charge of Driver’s Education. This means he informs all the students about the course and supervises students to keep them on track, especially for the final assessment.


“It is really important to get an understanding of the rules of the road,” Mele said. “I think what the exposure to Driver’s Ed does is it gets you making conscious, safe decisions on the road.”


James Buchanan also offers Driver’s Simulation directed by Mrs. Julie Eshleman (Faculty). Driver’s Stimulation is a course taken by students where they go through simulations at a wheel and even practice driving on the road with instructors. There are nine different simulations that the students go through which replicate different weather conditions. Each simulation is required to be taken twice.


Driver’s Simulation is an optional course, though, since students have to pay a fee to take it. Once a student completes the course, they are allowed to take their driver’s test through the school instead of through a DMV. There are also circumstances, depending on the type of insurance, where students will be given a discount off their insurance if they take the course.


“The leading cause of death for young people is automobile accidents,” Eshleman said, “So anything we can do to prevent that would be great.”

Driving is not something that people, especially teenagers, should take for granted. By offering Driver’s Education and Driver’s Simulation to students, James Buchanan aims to teach students road safety in hopes to minimize future accidents.